Sch­midt gets 60 days for ob­struc­tion

Wiarton Echo - - PAST AND PRESENT -

DEREK LESTER Post­media Net­work

Raw milk ad­vo­cate Michael Sch­midt has been sen­tenced to 60 days jail for ob­struc­tion of a peace officer.

Jus­tice Ron­ald Mi­nard de­liv­ered the sen­tence in a full court­room in Walk­er­ton Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon.

Sch­midt, found guilty on Oct. 19, was charged along with four oth­ers in the af­ter­math of a raid on Glen­colton Farm, north­east of Durham, on Oct. 2, 2015, by pro­vin­cial of­fi­cials gath­er­ing ev­i­dence for an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into raw milk production and pro­cess­ing. Charges against two of the oth­ers were dropped, a third was found not guilty, and the case of the fourth re­mains be­fore the courts.

Sch­midt has 30 days to pay a $100 vic­tim sur­charge. He will not be placed on pro­ba­tion after the sen­tence.

Sch­midt asked the judge if he could serve his time on week­ends to al­low him to con­tinue farm­ing on week­days, which was granted.

Sch­midt is to serve his sen­tence on con­sec­u­tive week­ends. He must ar­rive to jail by 6 p.m. Fri­days and will leave at 6 a.m. Mon­days, which will to­tal four days served. This is to start Fri­day.

The Crown had re­quested a min­i­mum 30-day con­di­tional sen­tence.

The Crown stated Sch­midt has no crim­i­nal record, how­ever, he owes money on pre­vi­ous fines.

Mi­nard agreed that Sch­midt be­ing in his 60s and hav­ing no crim­i­nal record is an ac­com­plish­ment, how­ever, he does have a his­tory with pro­vin­cial courts deal­ing with non-pas­teur­ized milk is­sues.

“In my view even though he is a first time of­fender there is an on­go­ing, un­der­ly­ing de­fi­ance of the law that has brought us here,” Mi­nard said.

Mi­nard said on Wed­nes­day that the war­rant to search his prop­erty was ob­tained and ex­e­cuted law­fully.

“This was an ob­struc­tion that went to the very heart of the war­rant,” Mi­nard said. “This is a very se­ri­ous of­fence. The agents were there un­der ju­di­cial au­tho­riza­tion.”

The raid on Glen­colton farm turned into a stand­off be­tween of­fi­cials and about 70 sup­port­ers of Sch­midt who re­fused to al­low equip­ment seized in the raid to be re­moved from the farm. Trac­tors were parked at en­trances to the farm so that a cube van used by pro­vin­cial of­fi­cials to gather ev­i­dence couldn’t leave un­til of­fi­cials agreed to leave the seized ma­te­rial be­hind.

On Oct. 19, Mi­nard found Sch­midt en­cour­aged the pro­test­ers to stand their ground and refuse to al­low the van to leave, which he said was the ev­i­dence of ob­struc­tion of a peace officer.

Much of the ev­i­dence against Sch­midt was con­tained in videos made dur­ing the raid. Sch­midt is seen and heard telling the lead in­ves­ti­ga­tor that noth­ing seized, or of­fi­cials, would leave the farm un­til the seized ma­te­rial was re­turned. That, said the judge, was not dis­puted by Sch­midt or any of the wit­nesses that he called.

The judge noted on Wed­nes­day three prin­ci­ples played a role in his sen­tenc­ing de­ci­sion.

He said the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion prin­ci­ple is served so the ac­cused won’t re­peat the of­fence, the gen­eral de­ter­rence prin­ci­ple sends a mes­sage of dis­cour­age­ment to the wider com­mu­nity to de­ter oth­ers from com­mit­ting a sim­i­lar of­fence and the per­sonal de­ter­rence prin­ci­ple makes the of­fender ac­count­able and se­ri­ously dis­cour­ages from en­gag­ing in the of­fence again.

“The sen­tence has to not only get the mes­sage home to Mr. Sch­midt, but to mem­bers of the com­mu­nity,” Mi­nard said. “In my view an is­sue of in­car­cer­a­tion is called for.”

Mi­nard added he had been think­ing about the sen­tence for two weeks, and had thought about hand­ing Sch­midt a five-month sen­tence.

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